Wales–Cardiff Bay and Penarth

All photos in this post © Elizabeth West

29 September

Wow, I had written a lovely post for you, and then I accidentally deleted it.  GAH!!  I’ll do my best to recreate it.

I was going to go to the National Museum in Cardiff, but I misread the website.  It’s shut on Mondays.  So I hopped on a bus and went to Cardiff Bay instead.

Cardiff Bay with a view of the headland, where Penarth is located.

Cardiff Bay with a view of the headland, where Penarth is located.

The bay is a huge waterfront area that used to be shipping, but now it’s a business and recreational development.  It houses the Wales Millennium Centre, along with Roald Dahl Plaas (named after the author, who was born in Llandaff).  These locations, along with many others, will be very familiar to fans of Doctor Who and Torchwood.

Wales Millennium Centre--they were on top replacing some of the copper roof tiles.

Wales Millennium Centre–they were on top replacing some of the copper roof tiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roald Dahl Plaas-they were taking down  event stuff, Cardiff Bay

Roald Dahl Plass not looking its best–they were clearing up after a Men’s Health magazine fitness event.

I had a nice conversation with a workman named Adam on the Plaas.  Like everyone else here, he asked me where I was from as soon as he heard my accent (yes, Virginia, in Wales, YOU have an accent, not them!).  We talked a bit of politics, my holiday, and about London.

Adam was talking about Londoners and he said, “We don’t like skinny women here.  We like our women meaty!” Perhaps he was only speaking for himself, but it was very amusing.  And encouraging, since I can’t seem to shake these last fifteen pounds.  I should definitely come back here!

Ianto's Wall 2, Cardiff Bay

Ianto’s Shrine–Torchwood fans will know what this is. All others, go watch the show on Netflix immediately.

The Pierhead Building is the home of the Welsh National Assembly.  I went inside it to view an art exhibit.  It’s a really lovely building.  It used to be the headquarters for the Bute Dock Company.  The staircase is a masterpiece of Victorian tiling.

The Pierhead building, Cardiff Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victorian tiled staircase, Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay

Mermaid Quay (pronounced KEY) is part of the bay development.  You can shop, eat, and take a boat to Penarth from there.

Looking back at Mermaid Quay from the Daffodil- the shuttle boat to Penarth, Cardiff Bay

Which I did! :)

The water taxi is operated by The Open Boat tours.  It took me around the bay and to the marina at the bottom of the headland at Penarth.  The skipper, whose name I failed to get, kept me entertained by explaining all about Cardiff Bay.   It was a very nice ride, though breezy.  They keep blankets aboard but I didn’t need one.  It’s been humid and warmish in Wales and the cool breeze felt good.

I learned a lot.  For instance, I did not know that Cardiff Bay is NOT a bay; it’s a huge freshwater lake!  Yes, it is fed by the River Taff, which flows through the city of Cardiff, and the River Ely.  Every ten yards or so, there are bubbles coming up in the bay.  They’re big aerators to keep the water from going stagnant.  It’s like a huge fish aquarium.

An enormous swan--we saw his bottom, as he was feeding on something here.  I had to wait until he bobbed back up to take his picture.  No, I did not want a picture of a swan's bum.

An enormous swan–we saw his bottom, as he was feeding on something here.  I had to wait until he bobbed back up to take his picture. No, I did not want a picture of a swan’s bum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Doctor Who Experience TARDIS, Cardiff Bay

The Doctor Who Experience building. I didn’t get to go–it is shut for regeneration. Boo! I’ll just have to come back. :)

Further on, you come to the barrage, which is like a huge dam separating Cardiff Bay from the sea.   Skipper explained to me how it all works.  It’s pretty cool, actually.

Cardiff Bay Barrage--closes off the bay from the sea-it's all freshwater from the Rivers Taff and Ely

Here is the barrage itself. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sluice gates that let the water out when the bay gets too full.

Sluice gates that let the water out when the bay gets too full.

Locks that lift the highway, Cardiff Bay Barrage, Cardiff Bay

These locks raise and lower the highway so boats can get out to sea from the bay. This is the only way to reach the ocean from there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We docked at Penarth.  I had to climb up the headland from the water.  Good thing I’ve been doing all that stair climbing at work.  It’s so steep that there were bits where I thought I might have to crawl.  I suppose people who live in Penarth are used to it.  At the top, I visited St. Augustine’s Church and its picturesque (and slightly creepy) old graveyard.

Window of St. Augustine's Church, Penarth

Pretty. I didn’t go inside, though the church is still in use and might have been open.

Angel, St. Augustine's Church, Penarth

I walked all the way around before I saw this. Don’t blink! 0_0

Penarth is a charming village built around and on the headland.  The streets are very steep.  I suppose they’re lucky they don’t get ice storms here like the ones we have in Missouri–you could not drive up these hills if they were slick.  Or walk up them!

I made my way to the Penarth Pier pavilion.  It took me so long to get here that it was shutting up, but I was able to get a cuppa (tea, what else?) to go and I took it down to the beach.  The tide had gone out and I had the wrong shoes for poking about in the mud, so I just sipped and ate a truffle from the Quay and looked out at the fog and mist over the sea.

The Pier Pavilion

The Pier Pavilion

Looking down the pier, Penarth

Looking out along the pier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking down the beach from ON the beach, Penarth

A view down the beach from the beach–you can see some people with their doggie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was time to go, so I climbed back up the hill (oof!) along a path through Alexandra Park and back to the train station, where I grabbed a train back to Cardiff Central Station.

Looking up the hill from the pier, Penarth

The village of Penarth from the pier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Path up the hill adjacent to Alexandra Park, Penarth

Along the path adjacent to the park. It was pretty and cool under here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite the damp and dreary weather, this particular outing ended up as a very nice day.  I’m glad I did it, though I missed standing on the Torchwood hub (arrgh!) and it would have been nice to see the Doctor Who Experience.  I’m definitely coming back to Cardiff sometime, so I’ll just do those things then.

In my next post, I’ll tell you all about my visit to a mini-bucket list item (not the official bucket list, just an offshoot), and another delightful discovery.

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